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Bible Dictionaries

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible


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EARTH in OT usually stands for one or other of the Heb. words ’eretz and ’adâmâh . In AV [Note: Authorized Version.] these are rendered indiscriminately ‘earth’ and ‘ ground ,’ but RV [Note: Revised Version.] distinguishes them by using, to some extent, ‘earth’ for the former, and ‘ground’ for the latter. Both words have a wide range of meanings, some of which they possess in common, while others are peculiar to each. Thus ’eretz denotes: ( a ) earth as opposed to heaven ( Genesis 1:1 ), and ( b ) dry land as opposed to sea. ( Genesis 1:20 ). ’adâmâh is specially used: ( a ) for earth as a specific substance ( Genesis 2:7 , 2 Kings 5:17 ); and ( b ) for the surface of the ground, in such phrases as ‘face of the earth.’ Both words are employed to describe: ( a ) the soil from which plants grow, ’adâmâh being the more common term in this sense; ( b ) the whole earth with its inhabitants, for which, however, ’adâmâh is but rarely used; and ( c ) a land or country, this also being usually expressed by ’eretz . In one or two cases it is doubtful in which of the two last senses ’eretz is to be taken, e.g. Jeremiah 22:29 (EV [Note: English Version.] ‘earth,’ RVm [Note: Revised Version margin.] ‘land’).

In NT the Gr. words for ‘earth’ are gç and oikoumenç , the former having practically all the variety of meanings mentioned above, while the latter denotes specially the whole inhabited earth, and is once used ( Hebrews 2:5 ) in a still wider sense for the universe of the future. See, further, art. World.

James Patrick.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Earth'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. 1909.

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